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Bridges Ventures sells Babington Group to RJD Partners

Bridges Ventures has sold Babington Group to private equity investors, RJD Partners, for £22.25m.

Babington Group is a provider of apprenticeships and traineeships in the UK and is currently working with over 1,000 employers and 4,400 learners. With training centres throughout the country, Bridges Ventures says it has over 40 years' experience providing high quality courses across a broad range of sectors.

According to Bridges Ventures, the company has also continued to diversify its product offering, by expanding its traineeship provision and increasing the breadth and depth of courses available: It now offers qualifications ranging from Intermediate Apprenticeship (Level 2) all the way up to Doctorate Level (Level 8).

The Grant Thornton corporate finance advisory team, who advised on the sale, was led by Keely Woodley and Victoria Giles. It states that it advised Bridges Ventures and wider shareholder group throughout the sale, running a competitive process to ensure the right partner was found, which could see Babington Group through its next phase of continued growth.

Grant Thornton says it ran a streamlined process, which led to significant interest in the business and considerable value realisation for the shareholders including an exciting growth platform for management, who will be staying with the business to continue their ambitious growth and expansion plans.

Clearwater International advised the Babington management team, led by partner Paul Newell, and supported by director, Rob Burden, associate director, Mark Maunsell, and associates, Mark Lawrence and Thanos Hadjiantonis.

Carole Carson, chief executive of Babington Group, said, “We are so grateful for the great result that Grant Thornton delivered, especially the number of offers we received for the business on the back of driving a competitive process during such an exciting time in the industry. I was particularly impressed by the commitment, tenacity and aptitude from the team throughout the transaction, which produced a fantastic result for all shareholders. I would like to thank the team for the endless support they gave us and we are really grateful for everything they did to find us a great partner for the business going forward and would not hesitate to recommend them.”

Garret Turley, partner at Bridges Ventures, added, "The Grant Thornton team worked tirelessly through an intensive process with multiple national and international trade and PE buyers, ensuring a competitive process to the end. During that time they helped management fully articulate the exciting opportunity for the buyer and looked after the interests of all the selling parties. Bridges feel we have achieved the right value and Grant Thornton were integral to this.”

Keely Woodley, partner at Grant Thornton UK LLP, commented, "We are privileged to have worked with Bridges Ventures and such a fantastic management team on this project. The business has now transitioned to an exciting new phase of ownership with their new partner, RJD. We are delighted that whilst achieving an excellent return for Bridges we have secured a bright future for the management team, at a particularly exciting time in the industry. The role that apprentices play in developing the workforce of tomorrow has never been more important. Babington's focus on apprenticeships and training is a key element of the government's social agenda and helps create communities in which people and businesses can flourish and contribute towards a vibrant economy."

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